Any Celtic fans hoping to see teenage right-back Jeremie Frimpong face Lazio in the Europa League next week will be left disappointed.
The Dutch sensation won’t be facing the Serie A outfit in Rome as he’s not registered in our squad for the group stage. With the benefit of hindsight, that does look like an error on Neil Lennon’s part.
Of course it’s easy to have a lot of sympathy for the Northern Irishman. Frimpong hadn’t even made his debut for the club when Lennon had to choose his squad for six Europa League clashes. Hatem Abd Elhamed and Moritz Bauer were the obvious, safe choices at that stage – with little known about the former Manchester City man.
Europa League absence could be good for Frimpong and Celtic
While it’s a little frustrating that the dynamic youngster won’t be around for the trip to Lazio, nor our final two matches against Rennes and Cluj, the situation could have its positive effects.
Frimpong will always be relatively fresh for the weekend domestic matches following European ties. He was a bundle of joy at Pittodrie on Sunday and perhaps wouldn’t have been quite as effective had he played 90 minutes against Lazio three days earlier.
Frimpong’s situation means that we can throw the reliable Elhamed into our big European clashes and know that he isn’t necessarily required on the weekend. We also have Bauer who is a steady, if not terrific, option as cover.
Somehow, one of our weakest positions from the past few seasons has turned into arguably our strongest. Long may it continue.